How To Fall In Love With Yourself -- So That Someone Else Will Too

What do you say to yourself when nobody else is looking? If you're telling everyone that you're the greatest thing since the iPod, but deep down inside you believe you are an eight-track player or the "chubby girl" who couldn't catch a man with a net and a pack of hunting dogs, then you're heading for more nights alone than a cloistered nun. You will generate the results that respond to your personal truth.

I mean it. I don't care how polished your presentation is or how ironclad your argument; if you have a crummy personal truth, you can look like Miss Universe for all I care. If underneath it all, you believe you're living a big lie because you're really just an unlovable outsider who is destined to wander the planet alone, people will sense it in a heartbeat and run the other way. They will figure, "Hey, she knows herself better than anyone else, and if she thinks she's worthless, who am I to argue? See ya!" Or maybe you'll find some loser who doesn't care who he's with or who you are, just so long as he's got somebody — anybody. That's not what you want either. You deserve better. Trust me — there's a world of difference between being with the one and being with someone. If you're out there acting as if you'll take whatever you can get because beggars can't be choosers, you're destined to wind up with the scraps.

When your personal truth is negative and riddled with doubts, distortions and shame, you scream that message to the world in a million and one nonverbal ways. What you believe is your "real deal" reflects itself in your body language, your facial expressions and your actions, which all conspire to contradict every word you say and the impression you strive to make.

Oh, I get it all right. You have a history that maybe you're not proud of. Maybe you've slept with enough guys to make up two football teams — including the practice squads. Maybe you've been dumped or left standing at the altar. The point is that all this stuff is in the past and you can't do anything to change it. What you can do is start spending 5 percent of your time trying to figure out whether you screwed up or got a raw deal, and 95 percent of your time figuring out what you're going to do about it.

Everything about your message, everything about your aura, everything about you will change. If you are not sure about the contents of your personal truth, now is the time to ask yourself some hard questions:

1. Do I feel that I have to disguise myself?
2. Do I live with shame?
3. Do I live with guilt?
4. Do I believe that I lack intelligence?
5. Is there something fundamentally wrong with me?
6. Do I lack confidence?
7. Do I think my ____ (best friend, sister, etc.) is somehow better than I am?
8. Do I feel like a fraud?
9. Do I think I am a second-class citizen?
10. Do I feel unworthy of love?
11. Do I often feel I have no control over my life and behavior?
12. Am I damaged goods -- have I been dumped so many times that there has got to be something wrong with me?
13. Do I feel that I am not as smart, sharp or interesting as other people?
14. Do I believe that I am not going to find happiness?
15. Do I say to myself that I'm not worthy?
16. Do I feel that I am masquerading and just one step ahead of being found out?
17. Do I believe that I am totally clueless in comparison with my peers?
18. Do I play the game constantly afraid of being hurt and humiliated?

I have just taken you through a structured examination of possible negative content in your personal truth. The first thing that should go on your to-do list is to eliminate, heal, change, do whatever you have to do so that it no longer has an impact on you. Hopefully, much of or most of your personal truth is positive. The majority of people have a combo deal.

The reason we are doing this inventory of negative personal truths is that we all generate the results we feel we deserve. So if you can eliminate, minimize and manage the negatives, you will be able to maximize the positives and present the results that are consistent with someone who has positive self-worth. In other words, if you don't like you, you will not get anyone else to like you. If you love you, then other people will love you. If you believe that you deserve the best relationship, you will attract a healthy, positive, fulfilling relationship into your life.

If any of the answers to the above questions is yes, roll up your sleeves and prepare to do some real work. To truly sell yourself on you, you have to change each one of those self-destructive answers and the perceptions that led you to them into positive, constructive thoughts. Once you have sold yourself on you, you'll realize that you don't need a man in your life to be whole. And that's getting your head in the game — coming at it with the mind-set of a winner, not a loser. Because if you're telling yourself that you had better find a partner fast or you'll just curl up and die, then you are playing with sweaty palms, running scared, coming off desperate and turning guys off — and guys sense desperation the way a dog senses an earthquake; and when they do, they take off and never look back. You've been doing fine on your own all these years, so just go for it. It's not so frightening to go out and show the world who you are.

Modified excerpt from Love Smart: Find the One You Want — Fix the One You Got by Dr. Phil McGraw (Free Press, 2005).

Have a question for Dr. Phil? Ask it here!